Welcome to Bygone Bungo

Welcome to the Bygone Bungo blog. We aim to collect and summarise all that is known about the dear little place we know as Strathbungo.

Over recent years I have amassed a wealth of information, from historical accounts and swathes of records, to many timeless photographs. This blog allows me to share them with a wider audience.

Not everything is on the site yet; items will be added as time allows. Future plans include then and now photographs of the area, maps through the ages, and further articles. The database of properties and previous residents is already running – you can search through some 5000 landlords and residents from the late 19th and early 20th centuries on the Address Search page.

So if you have ever wondered about the history of the area, who built it and why, or who lived here, or you have information of your own to add, delve in.

Andrew Downie

Frederick Selby, Architect

Frederick Selby was an architect who lived at 48 Queen Square in the 1970s, and contributed an entry into a Strathbungo Society competition for a monument to Alexander “Greek” Thomson in 1975.

So who was he? Well, not Fred Selby, for starters.

He was a tutor at Glasgow School of Art, and they provide us with a biography of the man.

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Where am I?

A collection of then and now photographs of Strathbungo and the surrounding area. See how many you can spot, before dragging the slider to reveal. When done, hit the Reveal button for more info. More to come. Enjoy!

Take the train

But from which local railway station?

Drag the little slider from the right to see a more recent view.


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Pollokshields West Railway Station

This Where am I? entry provoked responses split 50:50 between this being Pollokshields West or Maxwell Park. So here’s some more evidence.

Although only Maxwell Park Station building survives after a careful restoration, it wasn’t the only island station house on the line. Pollokshields West had a station house of the same design, as seen here, until the late 1980s.

Pollokshields West Station seen from the Terregles Avenue entrance, in 1987 (Ewan Crawford, Railscot), and again in 2018.

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Strathbungo’s fountain

Recently Douglas Robertson posted a query on the Bungoblog – did anyone else remember the Victorian drinking fountain on the Nithsdale Road roundabout, opposite Salisbury Quadrant?

“I’m sure it was Victorian, as made of metal and was substantially built. I don’t know the dimensions but would estimate (from memory) that it was approx. 10-12 ft high on a circular base of slightly larger dimensions.

It was situated on a roundabout opposite the old red telephone box nr. Sammy Dows and The New Anand Restaurant. I am sure it was still there about 20 years ago when I lived in Pollokshields. Did anyone see it being dismantled? Where did it finally end up? I have searched and searched (google uk) and cant find anything relating to it. I’m sure there must be someone, perhaps a Glasgow Council dept., who could throw some light on this. Again, a photo of it from someone would be an ideal start.”

A couple of residents replied, recalling the time the council came and took it away, or destroyed it, when the new roundabout was constructed, probably in the mid 1970s.

Then the Strathbungo Society’s chair flagged it up to @OssianLore on Twitter, and the following is a summary of what he discovered.

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James Briggs, Instrument maker

The cello above sold for £13,800 in Bonhams in 1996. It was made in Glasgow in 1924, and it set the record price for an instrument by its creator, James William Briggs. He was a maker of violins and cellos of some repute, and a resident of Strathbungo.

Briggs (1855-1935) was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire, and moved to Glasgow in 1893. He had premises at 122 Sauchiehall Street, and lived at 12 Queen Square (at that time known as 5 Queen Square) from around 1905 until his death.

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The Picture House, Campbeltown

On a recent trip round the Mull of Kintyre, I visited Campbeltown for the first time. Wandering around in the late evening, I came across the Picture House, Campbeltown’s cinema. It was built in the Glasgow School Art Nouveau style in 1913, and has recently undergone restoration. It is believed to be the oldest purpose built cinema in Scotland still in business.

What caught my eye was the information board outside the library next door. The cinema’s architect was one Albert Victor Gardner, a name I recognised. He built many cinemas in Scotland, especially in and around Glasgow, and continued to do so later in partnership with William Riddell Glen. He returned to refurbish the cinema in 1930.

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72 Nithsdale Road – H C Niven Motor Engineers

The restaurant at 72 Nithsdale Road is, as of July 2018, currently undergoing another makeover, and will open as Niven’s by Cafe Source after refurbishment. It has previously operated as Cookie, The Salisbury Restaurant & Bar, and Kowloons in recent years. However it was not always a place for dining, and during its first such incarnation as Cookie, it still retained the original signage, H C Niven & Co, est 1929, Motor Engineers. The motor engineers tag, and its phone number, are still visible above the door, and it is good to see Cafe Source intend to revise the Niven name.

Cookie, with the original Niven sinage

So who was Bert Niven?

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The birth of Strathbungo – George Washington Wilson, 1877

George Washington Wilson

This photograph of Strathbungo was taken by George Washington Wilson (1823-1893), a pioneering Scottish landscape photographer. After his studies in Edinburgh and London he returned to his native Aberdeen and began work as a painter of portrait miniatures.

George Washington Wilson, self portrait.

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The Consort Hotel

Residents may recall recent clashes between the needs of commercial businesses and residents in the Strathbungo area. It was ever thus. I found this newspaper clipping from the Herald, dated 18th October 1973, relating arguments over the licencing of the Consort Hotel in Moray Place.

The Consort Hotel?

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The Strathbungo Society Newsletter Archive

If you like a little more recent Bungo history, I have compiled an archive of over 20 years of Strathbungo Society newsletters. Thanks to the sterling efforts of the newsletter editors – John Devitt, Laura Moodie (nee Jones), Dee Miller, and especially, Sharon Schweps – the Society has been keeping in touch with residents for all these years, and at the same time documenting the events, issues and changes in the community over that time.

There may still be the odd issue missing, but I’m working on it, and it is pretty complete already.

The archive has it’s own permanent page, also accessible from the top menu, so go have a read…

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